Quiet Moments

By Emily Sayers

It is the quiet moments
 
Showertime is just around the corner
Water is running in some of the other rooms, and the happy chatter between nurses and patients adds to the sound
That, and the counting
Ellie and I keep finding each other’s eyes across the hallway
We do the Macarena silently together and dissolve into laughter
A nurse walks by to start another shower and tells us to stop
We’re not allowed to communicate in any way the nurses can’t see or hear
That doesn’t stop us, though - we keep dancing quietly, giggling across the divide
It’s the little things, these quiet moments, these small human connections, that matter here
They make hope bloom brighter
 
After a while, Ellie’s shower starts and I go back to my bed, hugging my knees to my chest as I look out the window at the setting sun
I can’t adjust the blinds myself, they’re protected by a heavy double encasement of metal and shatterproof glass, so I asked one of the nurses with a key to open them earlier that morning
I’m not quite sure why they keep the blinds under lock and key, though there are a variety of reasons to choose from
Maybe the glass on the other side isn’t shatterproof
Maybe the glass isn’t shatterproof, and they’re worried about cutting
More likely, though, is that they’re worried about the strings on the blinds
Anything is a noose. Everything is a noose. 
But if we really wanted to die, they wouldn’t be able to stop us
That’s the thing about being on Suicide Watch
It makes you realize just how many ways you can die by your own hand
I can’t help but admire the way the orange light comes through the blinds and falls across the faux wood floor, the colors strange and beautiful together
I trace my fingers over the cold, gray metal, contemplating the strange disconnect between me and the sky
The sun is so close I could reach out and touch it
I am a part of the clouds, and yet I’ve never been so separated from the heavens
But still, this is the closest I get to the outside world 
Even the tiny window in the dining room only looks out over a courtyard
These moments are the closest I get to freedom
What I would give for a breath of fresh air
It’s the little things, these quiet moments, that matter here
They make it a little bit easier
 
I hear the other Ellie down the hall, counting in the shower
That little pink bracelet that holds us hostage
We have to count whenever we’re in the bathroom
Count, or sing, or hum, or talk - any kind of noise
Just so long as the nurses know your heart is still beating
The first Ellie, another girl, and I got our bracelets off yesterday 
Mine had come off of its own accord the day before, but the two other girls laughed joyously as theirs were snipped off
I’d moved rooms earlier that day, but the other two girls raced each other down the halls to erase the pink dot beside their names on the whiteboard next to their doors
There was something freeing in the ritual
It seemed strange and foreign to take a quiet shower that night
Even though there was a nurse right outside the bathroom door, a door that couldn’t rightly be considered a door because it had no top or bottom and couldn’t lock
I felt free of time but prisoner to myself
It’s the little things, the quiet moments, that matter here
They’re small victories that feel like wars won 
 
This is the only time of day I have to my thoughts
I’m here, so they’re not pretty ones
They’re afraid and anxious, scared, foreign and full of dread
I want to be free, to be home, but I don’t want to leave
I don’t want to go don’t let me go set me free I don’t want to go don’t let me go set me free set me free SET ME FREE DON’T LET ME GO DON’T LET ME LEAVE DON’T MAKE ME GO BACK
But as I sit on my bed, hugging my knees to my chest, looking out the window at the sunset, silhouetted by the city skyline
It is easier to forget 
Easier to be alone
So I just sit and absorb the view
Pretending I’m outside 
It’s the little things, these quiet moments, that matter here
They’re the ones that count

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